Fodor's Riddle of abduction

Philosophical Studies 144 (2):313 - 338 (2009)
How can abductive reasoning be physical, feasible, and reliable? This is Fodor’s riddle of abduction, and its apparent intractability is the cause of Fodor’s recent pessimism regarding the prospects for cognitive science. I argue that this riddle can be solved if we augment the computational theory of mind to allow for non-computational mental processes, such as those posited by classical associationists and contemporary connectionists. The resulting hybrid theory appeals to computational mechanisms to explain the semantic coherence of inference and associative mechanisms to explain the efficient retrieval of relevant information from memory. The interaction of these mechanisms explains how abduction can be physical, feasible, and reliable.
Keywords abduction
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DOI 10.2307/27734446
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